A report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a US-based nonprofit environmental organization, says that mosquitoes capable of carrying dengue fever are now found in 28 US states and may extend their reach further as temperatures warm. Historically, these mosquitoes were restricted to a southern strip of the US from Texas to Florida. The spread has occurred within the last 30 years. About 4,000 imported and locally transmitted cases of dengue fever were reported in US from 1995 to 2005, according to the study.
Although focusing on the US, the 22-page report contains useful information on the dengue pictures in the Americas as a whole. There were over 900,000 cases in the Americas in 2007, including more than 26,000 cases of potentially fatal haemorrhagic fever. The countries most seriously afflicted in 2007 were: Brazil, Mexico, Honduras, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Bolivia and Guyana.
The report makes six main recommendations of measures which would help limit the spread of the disease:
- Improve environmental monitoring
- Support better health surveillance
- Improve mosquito control
- Create climate- and disease-resilient homes and communities
- Reduce global warming pollution to decrease the extent and severity of warming
- Provide information for travellers visiting high-risk dengue areas.